Before we get to the appearance on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” we need to talk about how the Cornelius bakery Matty’s Fatty’s got its unusual name.
When Madeline Baucom grew up in suburban New York, she was overweight and teased by other kids. They called her “Fatty Matty” and “Fat-eline.” She’d run home and weep.
Grown-ups, too. “They’d say things like, ‘You’d be so pretty if you lost weight,’ ” Baucom says.
After her family moved to the Charlotte area and Baucom started attending North Mecklenburg High School, she grew taller and the weight distributed itself appropriately. But she never forgot the sting of being chubby.
“I’m always on a diet,” she says. “I constantly work out, and I’m always aware of what I’m eating.”
Baucom, 34, went to work as an emergency room nurse and was thinking of returning to school to become a physician’s assistant.
“All of a sudden, this popped into my head – my mom and I used to talk about opening a bakery.”
Her husband, Darius, encouraged her to give it a go. You can always go back to school, he said. But if this is your passion, do it now while you’re young.
Soon she and her sister-in-law, Enza Friedman, were running a bakery out of Baucom’s Mooresville kitchen and a nest in the rest of the house for their children (Baucom has four, Friedman three) aged 2 to 13.
A year later, they leased a shop on Catawba Avenue in Cornelius and opened on May 28, 2012.
Friedman, who grew up in the Bronx, has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, which means wheat-based food caused her to bloat internally. They make their treats gluten-free and with as many natural ingredients as they can find – pure butter, pure cane sugar and avoid anything with preservatives. They have a line of vegan, gluten-free brownies, cakes and pie crusts.
Baucom liked “Cupcake Wars” and applied to be on the show. Shortly after they opened the shop last year, they got the word – come to Los Angeles for five days in July and don’t tell anyone what you’re doing. They told their customers they were going on vacation for a week.
Their episode aired Monday on Food Network, and they came in second. Part of their assignment was to bake 1,000 cupcakes for a party honoring the CBS soap opera “The Young and the Restless” on its 10,000th episode.
“We’d never, ever watched that show,” says Baucom.
“Who has time to watch TV?” says Friedman.
But they churned out the cupcakes, topped with the show’s “Y&R” logo and containing the hot pepper habanero (they knew enough about soap operas to figure “Y&R” was spicy). They blame their loss in part on not spending enough time in the final rush on displaying the cupcakes more elegantly on the table.
Their day in the spotlight began at 6 a.m. and they didn’t go home until after 10 p.m. All the show’s baking was shot in a single, exhausting day.
“We used to watch the show and wonder how you could mess up your recipe,” says Baucom. “It’s because you’re in a strange kitchen and all the stress.”
While they were expecting to win the competition, they were OK with coming in second – which isn’t bad, considering they’d only had their shop open for five weeks at the time and neither one had ever run a business before, says Friedman, 41, whose degree is in elementary education.
Team Matty has other challenges in mind. They think their healthy-pastry business has potential to become a chain, and they’re exploring the idea of starting a charitable arm to combat bullying.
Baucom and Friedman would like to set up a sanctuary for kids dealing with self-esteem issues. Social media and the Internet make it difficult these days.
“Today it’s never over; they have no escape. We want to make some kind of safe haven house where it doesn’t matter how you look,” Baucom says.
“Fox News Rising” meteorologist Tera Blake returned this week to WCCB (Channel 18) from maternity leave with pictures of her new son, Tyson. … James Best of Hickory, best known for his role as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on “Dukes of Hazzard,” will appear April 5 at Hickory Community Theater in a one-man show to benefit the theater’s renovation.
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